Rez Infinite, the incredible experience currently available on PS4 with PlayStation VR support, has now made its way to PC in what creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi tells us is the “definitive” version of the game in an exclusive interview.
Rez Infinite is available today on Steam, with support for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, as well as full 4K. The transition to PC from PS4 has also seen the addition of online leaderboards, full 3D audio, improved VR options and Area X unlocked from the start. The game will also support the use of Oculus Touch and Vive controllers.
Ahead of the game’s launch, I sat down with Mizuguchi to discuss his game, which has stood the test of time for over 15 years after its initial launch on PS2 and Sega Dreamcast.
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Could you talk about developing Rez for VR, and how it compares to the original development process?
Yeah, it was very smooth, I don’t know why, but maybe because when I produced the original Rez, 15 years ago, the whole time I had the image of VR, in my mind. But of course could only project onto a 2D screen. I always wanted to make a Rez VR version, in the future, and now the time has come.
I also wanted to create the new experience, and that is Area X. So original Rez is a lane shooter, you can’t move, but in Area X you can move freely. So not like a musical score, so you’re free and you’re exploring the world, you get the sound of the music, and a sense of exploration. So this is a little bit of an adventure for us, how can we combine the two elements? But we tested and tuned, and that was a really fun process.
Does the addition of VR controllers create a similar experience to what you created with Child of Eden and Kinect, which was also an immersive experience for players?
Yeah, but we have haptic feedback [in Oculus Touch and Vive controllers], which is better [than what we had at the time with Child of Eden].
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Why do you think the rhythm action genre as a whole has struggled to thrive whereas Rez has been a consistent success for so long, and how has it been to stick with one project for so long?
I don’t know why. Rez has no genre, I think. I never used musical icons to push this or [get people to] play this, so it’s not like that. So you feel the music, and we combine the very essential elements of the music, like a musical player. So it’s a very natural thing.
I think one of the reasons is that this is a very abstract game, but it’s also very basic and very pure, and when we add the new technology, we can update as a new experience. With high-res music, hi-def visuals, even haptic vibration, and we even made the suits!
Despite never playing an instrument, I’m still able to understand the timing of Rez because of the way it teaches players through the escalation of a level. How do you make the game so that it appeals to both the musically gifted and the tone deaf like myself?
It’s a very deep question! But it’s fun to think about. I think I want to make a new type of storytelling experience, so maybe a musical. Not only music, you know we have many elements, but I think the music is a very strong, strong storytelling form. The rhythm, the sound effects, lyrics.
Basically the music is active, but the music listener is very passive. So all the time I try to make an active experience with the music. So what is the reward? The reward is the feedback, you’re happy, and then want to replay again and again and again.
If you complete the game, maybe that’s it, but I want to create a game you want to play more and more and listen to the music. So how? I have to make sure it’s not boring. Maybe you feel the music is different compared to [when you first played it], so if you’re playing better and better, you hear the music. It’s like a moving sculpture, all the time you’re finding something new. Maybe you can find something new in the world, it depends on your condition, every day. I want to create a moving sculpture.
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Has the evolution of Rez been dependent on technology, are you always waiting on advancements like VR and improved visuals before you can iterate?
So the PC version of Rez is what I like to say as the “ultimate” version of Rez, but we want more in the future. So if we have 8K or if we have AR/MR technology, we can create a new Rez experience. I want to generate even more particles! I want very smooth details and textures. We are standing at the beginning of the next era, so if we have even higher resolutions, and high powered machines, we can create more and more synaesthesia, dramatic storytelling and experience.
Maybe in the next 10 or 20 years, I’m waiting!
Im a huge Child of Eden fan, and with the new motion controllers, could we see that game also return now the technology fits?
Yeah, maybe, maybe. If you look back at the history of technology innovation, like Kinect, that was a huge spike, but maybe [the technology around it] was a bit slow. So like 3D, watching 3D technology, we had 3D TV a few years ago, but now it’s gone. But that concept was succeeded by VR, so all the time it’s changing.
All the time I have frustrations with new technology, including 3D TV, Kinect, but essentially we get something, we found something. We can’t do this now, but in the future, we can do something, we will do something. The technology is getting better and better.
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With Rez Infinite I had no frustrations in the creative process, so that means [the technology] is getting better. The PC is much better than PS4, it’s a freedom, no limits of the imagination. It’s very fun to create.
Rez Infinite launches today on PC for £19.99.